We continue our interview series with another well known face - multiple World Champion Stevie Brewin.
- When and why did you first start sailing and in what?
Father got me into it at the age of 5. We had a Solcat
- When did you first become aware of the ‘A’ Class Cat?
Aged 11 and was sailing on a Nacra 5.2 and when we actually collided, destroyed and sunk one in a collision back in 1985!
- Where and at what age did you first get a sail on one.
2001 at the age of 25, at a club near Barcelona.
Fitness and training.
- What is your current fitness routine, and do you have any special diet?
My job is in construction and roofing so it’s physical and that pretty much keeps me fit. The odd run sometimes, but that’s it really. I tend to eat lots of fish, that’s about it diet-wise, and beer obviously, to bulk up.
- How often do you sail each month?
1 to 2 days a week on average.
- Do you have any specific fixed training regime?
I tend to focus on one thing at a time, say sail settings, then rudder, then foil settings. As I get nearer to a regatta, I then do everything.
- Where did you learn your race tactics?
Mainly around the cans and then watching the good guys, and asking them the right questions like seeing why they did such and such. Then analyzing each of my races too. Every race is a learning experience.
- Do you practice race tactics in any way whilst training?
That’s hard to do currently with the way I train. Occasionally we try to outdo each other. Sometimes we let the slower guy practice the tactics.
- Was there a particular technique you found that unlocked something in your sailing?
Our upwind foiling technique was hidden from people for a while before we let it out of the bag after Medemblik. We didn’t use it there because the conditions in my races were never suitable. If in doubt - don’t sheet out is the key when learning to foil!
- Do you have a regular sailing partner and what do they do for your sailing?
Bundy is my usual one. We both come up with ideas and one will test as the other keeps setting the same, then we swap. Simon Nelson is also another regular sailor I use sometimes as he’s often about and sometimes has interesting ideas. But it’s essential to have someone as fast as you and a consistent good partner is worth their weight in gold.
- What do you most enjoy about sailing the ‘A’ Cat?
The speed, competition and the continuous evolution is best part. If it were One Design class it would lose my interest.
- What was your best sailing moment? (and if you feel strong enough, your worst!?)
In 2013, I had an F18 crash. We were rammed from behind at the top mark and it nearly broke my back. I was warned by the doctors that I might not walk again.
Winning the Euros just 5 months afterwards was the best!
- If something goes wrong in a race, how do you start to deal with it mentally?
If it’s early on and you know what happened, you still have a chance to not do that again on the next lap plus you have 2 more laps to catch up and make good. The ones you win are often the ones where you have the big comebacks. The DEN Worlds is a good example. Just stay positive, if you make a mistake, someone else can also do it. Fight for every inch back, every place is a gain. Always finish the race if it is at all possible physically. I have twice seen really top sailors, one a multiple World Champ, have big breakages where most would have retired. They just hiked and steered the rest of the race realizing that any finish is better than RTD points on the sheet.
- What would you sail if ‘A’ Cats were suddenly banned?
Maybe a Moth, or whatever the closest thing to the ‘A’ Cat it would be, or then just die.
- What improvements do you feel could be made to the boats currently and which direction do you think the two divisions should be heading?
New material developments, probably in the sail design areas. I feel there will be more development in the Open rather than the Classics though, as you’d expect.
- Where is the best place you have ever sailed your ‘A’ Cat?
Lake Macquarie, still my favourite! I like Barcelona too.
- Who are your sailing heroes and influences?
Maybe Nathan Outridge, Blair Tuke and Pete Burling for their versatility in so many different classes. But probably Scotty Anderson for his smart and highly intelligent approach to the sport.
- What single piece of advice could you give to the average ‘A’ Cat sailor?
Enjoy it above all, compete at your own level and remember there is a race within every race. There are many good people in this class, and take a little time off if the enjoyment drops, then you come back with more enthusiasm.
And train, train, train!